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Cheapest supermarket of 2019 revealed

We’ve crunched the data to uncover the cheapest and most expensive supermarkets over the past year

Cheapest supermarket of 2019 revealed

Sainsbury’s was the cheapest supermarket for branded groceries last year, according to our analysis.

We crunched thousands of prices across six major online supermarkets to compare just how cheap – or expensive – they were in 2019.

Our trolley of groceries contained 53 common items, from Andrex toilet tissue and Heinz baked beans to Weetabix cereal and Sure deodorant.

Here, we reveal how much you would have paid at each of the major supermarkets, and what’s going on in the world of supermarkets at the minute.


Which are the cheapest and most expensive supermarkets?

Our trolley of everyday goods cost an average of £107.01 a month at Sainsbury’s. But at Waitrose, the most expensive supermarket, it was £117.81– which totted up to an eye-watering £129.67 more over the year.

We collect our data by monitoring online pricing, which means that only shops that sell all of the branded items online can be considered in the ranking. As a result, we’re unable to include Aldi or Lidl, as they don’t sell groceries online and don’t stock a full range of branded products.

The full results are:

How we compare supermarket prices

We tracked the prices of 53 popular products sold in the six online supermarkets covered by the comparison: Asda, Morrisons, Ocado, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose.

Using data from the independent shopping website MySupermarket, we calculated the average price (including discounts, but not multibuys) for each item across the whole of 2019.

We added those individual averages up to get the cost of the basket at each shop for each month, then took an average of those for the whole year.

Last year we did a similar comparison for 2018, which revealed Morrisons as the cheapest, followed by Asda and then Sainsbury’s. Waitrose was still most expensive.

Sainsbury’s vs Waitrose: biggest price differences

We delved into the prices of individual products in our trolley to find the starkest differences. We looked at averages across the year, to take account of temporary special offers, and found some items were around £1 more expensive throughout the year at Waitrose than at Sainsbury’s.

The biggest differences we found were:

  • Sheba Fine Flakes Poultry Selection in Jelly cat food pouch (12 x 85g) – £1.06 more, on average, in Waitrose than Sainsbury’s
  • Ben & Jerry’s Cookie Dough ice cream (500ml) – 98p more, on average, in Waitrose than Sainsbury’s
  • Head & Shoulders Anti-Dandruff Shampoo Classic Clean (500ml) – 95p more, on average, in Waitrose than Sainsbury’s
  • Sure Men MotionSense 48hr Anti-Perspirant Active Dry (250ml) – 93p more, on average, in Waitrose than Sainsbury’s
  • Nescafé Gold Blend coffee (200g) – 72p more, on average, in Waitrose than Sainsbury’s

Latest supermarket news

Last year saw supermarkets in the news for a number of reasons. The Competition and Markets Authority rejected the proposed Asda and Sainsbury’s merger, saying it would lead to increased prices and reduced quality.

There was a huge fire at an Ocado warehouse in Hampshire, a restructure at Waitrose and a new boss at Tesco. And all the while, questions and debate raged around Brexit, and what it will mean for the UK retail industry.

Supermarket sales showed the slowest rate of growth over the Christmas period of 2019 for four years at 0.2% year-on-year, according to figures from market analyst Kantar Worldpanel.

Retailers hoping for a post-election rush in the final weeks before Christmas were disappointed, with shoppers carefully watching their budgets. Sales of Christmas puddings were down by 16%, while seasonal biscuits were 11% lower.

However, the festive period was distinctly cheerier for the discount supermarkets. Aldi’s sales were up 5.9% year-on-year, while it was an even merrier Christmas for Lidl, with an increase of 10.3% year-on-year.

This meant that the discounters claimed a combined market share of 13.7% – more than three times what they held a decade ago.

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